Joseph Neev, Luiz B. Da Silva, Dennis L. Matthews, Michael E. Glinsky, Brent C. Stuart, Michael D. Perry, Michael D. Feit, and Alexander M. Rubenchik
Ultrashort Pulse High Repetition Rate Laser System for Biological Tissue Processing
U.S. Patent 5,720,894
February 24, 1998
A method and apparatus for fast, efficient, precise, and damage-free biological tissue removal using an ultrashort-pulse laser system operating at high pulse-repetition rates. The duration of each laser pulse ranges from 1 fs to 50 ps, such that energy deposition is localized and occurs before significant collateral damage can take place. The depth of material removed per pulse is about 1 micrometer, and the minimal thermal and mechanical effects associated with this ablation method allow for high-repetition-rate operation to over 1,000 Hz, which achieves high material removal rates.

Alan M. Frank and Ronald S. Lee
Precision Flyer Initiator
U.S. Patent 5,756,925
May 26, 1998
A precision flyer initiator forming a substantially spherical detonation wave in a high explosive (HE) pellet. An explosive driver-e.g., detonating cord, wire bridge circuit, small explosive-is detonated. A flyer material is sandwiched between the explosive driver and the end of a barrel that contains an inner channel. A projectile, or flyer, is sheared from the flyer material by the force of the explosive driver and projected through the inner channel. The flyer then strikes the HE pellet, which is supported above a second end of the barrel by a spacer ring. A gap of shock-decoupling material delays the shock wave in the barrel from predetonating the HE pellet before the flyer. A spherical detonation wave is formed in the HE pellet. Thus, a shock wave traveling through the barrel fails to reach the HE pellet before the flyer strikes the HE pellet. The precision flyer initiator can be used in mining, well-drilling, and antitank devices.

Donald A. Bender and Thomas C. Kuklo
Separators for Flywheel Rotors
U.S. Patent 5,775,176
July 7, 1998
A separator that forms a connection between the rotors of a concentric rotor assembly of a high-performance flywheel energy storage system. This separator allows for the relatively free expansion of outer rotors away from inner rotors while providing a connection between the rotors that is strong enough to prevent disassembly. This combination of inner flywheel ring, separator, and outer flywheel ring may be nested to include an arbitrary number of concentric rings. The separator may be a segmented or continuous ring that abuts the ends of the inner rotor and the inner bore of the outer rotor. It is supported against centrifugal loads by the outer rotor and is affixed to the outer rotor. It is made of a material that has a modulus of elasticity lower than that of the rotors.

Eric H. Silver, Mark Legros, Norm W. Madden, Fred Goulding, and Don Landis
Broadband High Resolution X-Ray Spectral Analyzer
U.S. Patent 5,777,336
July 7, 1998
A superior-performance, broad-bandwidth, high-resolution, x-ray-fluorescence spectrometer. It consists of an array of four large-area microcalorimeters with 95% quantum efficiency at 6 keV, and it produces x-ray spectra between 0.2 and 7 keV with an energy resolution of 7 to 10 eV. The resolution is obtained at input count rates per array element of 10 to 50 Hz in real time, with analog pulse processing and thermal pile-up rejection. The detectors are incorporated into a compact, portable, cryogenic system that is ready for use in analytical spectroscopy as a tool for x-ray microanalysis or other research applications.

Richard F. Post and Charles S. Vann
Mechanical Beam Isolator for High-Power Laser Systems
U.S. Patent 5,777,775
July 7, 1998
A mechanical beam isolator that uses rod-shaped elements having a Gaussian configuration to interrupt the path of a beam of photons or particles when the time scale of the needed interruption is a microsecond or less. One or more of these rods are mounted transversely to, and penetrate through, a rotating shaft supported by bearings. The rods can withstand much higher rotation speeds than rods having any other geometrical shape. This invention is a means for isolating the optical amplifier elements of high-power pulsed laser systems from the deleterious effects of light reflected back from elements such as targets.

Scott E. Groves and Steven J. Deteresa
Interlayer Toughening of Fiber Composite Flywheel Rotors
U.S. Patent 5,778,735
July 14, 1998
An interlayer toughening mechanism to mitigate the growth of damage in fiber-composite flywheel rotors over a long lifespan. The interlayer toughening mechanism may comprise one or more tough layers of high-elongation, high-strength fibers arranged in a woven pattern at a range from 0 to 90°ree; to the rotor axis and bound by a ductile matrix material that adheres to and is compatible with the materials used for the bulk of the rotor. The number and spacing of the tough interlayers are a function of the design requirements and expected lifetime of the rotor. The mechanism has particular application in uninterruptible power supplies, electrical power-grid reservoirs, compulsators for electric guns, and electromechanical batteries for vehicles.

George P. Sutton
Stepped Nozzle
U.S. Patent 5,779,151
July 14, 1998
An insert that allows a supersonic nozzle of a rocket propulsion system to operate at two or more different nozzle area ratios, resulting in improved vehicle flight performance or increased payload. The insert, temporarily fastened by a simple retaining mechanism to the aft end of the diverging segment of the nozzle, provides for a multistep variation of nozzle area ratio. When mounted in place, the insert provides the nozzle with a low nozzle-area ratio. During flight, the retaining mechanism is released, and the insert is ejected, thereby providing a high nozzle-area ratio in the diverging nozzle segment.

William J. Benett, Peter A. Krulevitch, Abraham P. Lee, Milton A. Northrup, and James A. Folta
Fabrication Method for Miniature Plastic Gripper
U.S. Patent 5,783,130
July 21, 1998
A miniature plastic gripper actuated by inflation of a miniature balloon and a method of fabricating same. The gripper is constructed of either heat-shrinkable or heat-expandable plastic tubing, formed around a mandrel, and cut to form gripper prongs or jaws. Then the mandrel is removed. The gripper is connected at one end with a catheter or tube having an actuating balloon at its tip, whereby the gripper is opened or closed by inflation or deflation of the balloon. The gripper is designed to retain a member to which is connected a quantity of medicine, plugs, or microcomponents. The inexpensive miniature plastic gripper can be used for gripping, sorting, or placing micrometer-scale particles for analysis.

Alison Chaiken and Richard P. Michel
Growth of Oxide Exchange Bias Layers
U.S. Patent 5,783,262
July 21, 1998
An oxide (NiO, CoO, NiCoO) antiferromagnetic exchange bias layer produced by ion-beam sputtering of an oxide target in pure argon sputtering gas, with no oxygen gas introduced into the system. Antiferromagnetic oxide layers are used, for example, in magnetoresistive read-back heads to shift the hysteresis loops of ferromagnetic films away from the zero field axis. The present invention is a simpler process of producing oxide exchange bias layers.

Nicholas J. Colella, Howard L. Davidson, John A. Kerns, and Daniel M. Makowiecki
Composite Material Having High Thermal Conductivity and Process for Fabricating Same
U.S. Patent 5,783,316
July 21, 1998
A process for fabricating a composite material with high thermal conductivity for applications such as heat sinks or heat spreaders for high-density integrated circuits. The composite material produced by this process has a thermal conductivity between that of diamond and copper, consisting of coated diamond particles dispersed in a high-conductivity metal, such as copper. The composite material can be fabricated in small or relatively large sizes using inexpensive materials. The process uses a sputter-coating diamond powder with several elements (including a carbide-forming element and a brazable material), compacts them into a porous body, and infiltrates the porous body with a suitable braze material, such as copper-silver alloy, to produce a dense, diamond-copper composite material with a thermal conductivity comparable to synthetic diamond films at a fraction of the cost. The present invention can be used for integrated circuits, particularly copper-diamond heat sinks, and for copper-diamond composite material, such as that having high thermal conductivity for fabricating composite materials.

Joe N. Lucas, Tore Straume, and Kenneth T. Bogen
Method for Identifying and Quantifying Nucleic Acid Sequence Aberrations
U.S. Patent 5,783,387
July 21, 1998
A method for detecting nucleic-acid sequence aberration by detecting sequences having both a first and a second sequence type. The presence of the first and second sequence type on the same nucleic-acid sequence indicates the presence of a sequence aberration. The method uses one hybridization probe that includes a nucleic-acid sequence that is complementary to a first sequence type and a first complexing agent capable of attaching to a second complexing agent and a second hybridization probe that includes a nucleic-acid sequence that selectively hybridizes to the second sequence type over the first sequence type and includes a detectable marker for detecting the second hybridization probe. The method of the present invention increases by severalfold the sensitivity, precision, and speed of detecting randomly occurring nucleic-acid sequence aberrations (such as chromosome translocations) over current detection methods including FISH assays. The method of the present invention may also be readily adapted for the diagnosis of diseases.

Richard F. Post
Self-Adjusting Magnetic Bearing Systems
U.S. Patent 5,783,885
July 21, 1998
A self-adjusting magnetic bearing that automatically adjusts parameters of an axially unstable magnetic bearing such that its force balance is maintained near the point of metastable equilibrium. Complete stabilization in an electromechanical battery can be obtained with the application of weak restoring forces either from a mechanical bearing (running at near-zero load, thus with reduced wear) or from the action of residual eddy currents in a snubber bearing. In one embodiment, a torque is generated by the approach of a slotted pole to a conducting plate. The torque actuates an assembly that varies the position of a magnetic shunt to change the force exerted by the bearing. Another embodiment achieves axial stabilization by sensing vertical displacements in a suspended bearing element and uses this information in an electrical servo system. In a third embodiment, a rotating eddy current exciter approaches a stationary bearing and heats a thermostat that actuates an assembly to weaken the attractive force between the two bearing elements.

James L. Kaschmitter, Steven T. Mayer, and Richard W. Pekala
Process for Producing Carbon Foams for Energy Storage Devices
U.S. Patent 5,789,338
August 4, 1998
A high-energy-density capacitor incorporating a variety of carbon-foam electrodes. The foams, derived from the pyrolysis of resorcinol-formaldehyde and related polymers, are high-density (0.1-1.0 cm3) and electrically conductive and have high surface areas (400-1000 cm3). Capacitances on the order of several tens of farad per gram of electrode are achieved.

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